Tag Archives: BP Canada

BP sells Canadian coalbed methane assets

BP is selling off a number of assets world-wide to raise money to pay for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, including their Mist Mountain coalbed methane project near Fernie, BC. As long-time readers may recall, BP originally intended coalbed methane development in the Canadian Flathead as well, but pulled out of that region in response to public outcry. Presumably, the new owner, Apache Corporation, will continue to honor this restriction.

More reading . . .

BP sells Fernie coal bed methane project to Apache Corp (the Fernie Free Press)

BP shops assets to cover oil spill costs (Reuters)

Flathead Coalition review pans BP’s environmental study

The Flathead Coalition is less than amused at BP-Canada’s approach to environmental science. They don’t think much of British Columbia’s fox-guarding-the-henhouse rules for conducting environmental studies, either.

A press release pubished today by Citizens Concerned About Coalbed Methane summarizes the issue . . .

The Flathead Coalition announced today that its internal evaluation of BP-Canada Energy Company’s environmental science demonstrates bias toward understating the likely environmental impact of its proposed Mist Mountain CBM project.

The Mist Mountain CBM project is being planned by BP-Canada for the Crowsnest Coalfield area that spans the Elk River and Flathead River hydrologic divide. The B.C. government granted tenure last December for the Elk Valley portions of the coalfield. BP says it plans to start exploratory drilling in early 2010, though it may commence sooner.

Read the entire article . . .

Endangered river designation for North Fork draws more coverage

The Flathead Beacon posted a tardy, but well-written article covering both of  the North Fork’s recent “endangered river” designations . . .

As the threat of large-scale mining continues to bear down on the headwaters of the Flathead River Basin – and as funding for conservation research hits a snag – Ric Hauer believes the North Fork Flathead River’s recent designation as one of the most endangered rivers in North America arrives with appropriate timing.

Read the entire article . . .

Blankenship press outing discusses endangered North Fork

The Hungry Horse News has a nice article about a press conference held at Blankenship to discuss American River’s listing of the North Fork as one of the ten most endangered rivers in the U.S.

Here’s the lead . . .

On a bright blue day at Blankenship black bugs come off the water and land on your head and arms and hat. They would be annoying if they weren’t such a good omen, because these black bugs are no ordinary bugs.

They’re stoneflies and they make their living in the tiny cracks between the rocks of the North Fork of the Flathead River. They’re annoying to us, maybe. But to trout they’re like candy. To trout they’re food staple.

Stoneflies in a river mean it’s clean and pure and unpolluted. Because streams that are polluted have sediments and filth that fill those cracks between the rocks that ultimately choke out the stoneflies entirely.

Put a coal mine along a stream and that’s what gets squeezed out first — the stoneflies from sediment washing into the river…

Read the entire article . . .

Flathead’s North Fork makes another ‘most endangered’ list

Following up on our earlier post about about the North Fork Flathead River making the American Rivers organization’s list of “America’s Most Endangered Rivers,” here’s the Missoulian’s write-up, which includes some additional information . . .

The North Fork Flathead River, a wild waterway forming the western edge of Glacier National Park, has recently been listed as one of the most endangered rivers in North America.

Canadian coal mine proposals and plans for coalbed methane and gold exploration all threaten the North Fork’s headwaters, according to both U.S. and Canadian watchdogs.

“Countries may recognize borders, but rivers don’t, and pollution doesn’t stop at the border,” said Will Hammerquist of the National Parks Conservation Association. His group, along with the Flathead Coalition, recently nominated the North Fork for inclusion in “America’s Most Endangered Rivers.”

Read the entire article . . .

North Fork fifth on US endangered rivers list

Today’s Daily Inter Lake reports that the North Fork Flathead River ranks fifth on American Rivers’  2009 list of endangered rivers due to the threats posed by resource development in the Canadian Flathead.

Here’s the lead . . .

An “indefinite opportunity” for coal mining and other resource development in Canada has put the North Fork Flathead River on a list of the nation’s 10 most endangered rivers.

American Rivers, the country’s leading river conservation organization, ranks the North Fork fifth on its 2009 list.

Read the entire article . . .

More on BP’s Mist Mountain coalbed methane project

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post regarding the Mist Mountain coalbed methane project, here are links to some additional information . . .

Our friends in Fernie, BC are not very happy about BP Canada’s plans. See the Citizens Concerned About Coalbed Methane site for details.

Wildsight posted a press release last Friday that does a good job of summarizing the problems local residents have with coalbed methane development. It also links to some additional material.

BP’s Mist Mountain Coalbed Gas Project site is another source of information. In particular, the maps page is a bit of an eye-opener.

What’s the Flathead connection? Earlier this year, BP withdrew their efforts to explore the Canadian Flathead for coalbed methane development, but left the door open to return at a later date. (See this post, for example.) Mist Mountain is in the Elk River watershed, not far from the Flathead headwaters and already the site of an open pit mine and a proposed wind farm. Events there are a good predictor of what might happen if that sort of activity spills over into the Flathead Valley.

Canadian Flathead left out of natural-gas deal

From the Saturday, December 6, 2008 online edition of the Daily Inter Lake . . .

BP Canada on Friday received natural-gas rights for a potential energy project in a segment of British Columbia watched closely by environmental activists in both the province and in Montana.

British Columbia granted the rights to BP for its proposed Mist Mountain coal-bed methane project in the province’s southeast, after the Flathead River Basin was removed from the project area. In the debate about possible environmental effects from Mist Mountain coal-bed methane work, the border-spanning Flathead had been particularly prominent, with activists in Montana raising the specter of harm traveling downstream.

Even with the Flathead removed, the prospect of the coal-bed methane project in combination with other current and proposed industrial activity in southeastern British Columbia is alarming, said Will Hammerquist of the National Parks Conservation Association in Whitefish near Glacier National Park, which extends to the British Columbia border.

Read the entire article . . .

Public Officials Deserve Thanks for Protecting Flathead Water

The Friday, March 7, 2008 online edition of the Flathead Beacon published the following commentary by Will Hammerquist, Glacier program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association . . .

Growing up within a bike ride of the Flathead River, I had no idea that my favorite river originated in British Columbia. I just knew that the Flathead River is special and its clean, cold waters were undeniable.

As I grew older, I learned that the three forks of the Flathead come together in Bad Rock Canyon to form the Flathead and that the North Fork is the wildest and most remote of the three.

As an adult, I came to understand that while the Montana portion of the North Fork is one of the most pristine and protected rivers in America, the Canadian headwaters are zoned for mountaintop-removal coalmines, coalbed methane extraction and all other types of metal mining and drilling.

Here in the Flathead, generations of Montanans have long raised concerns over the impacts of these activities on our water, fish and wildlife. Experts warn pollution that from such activities would flow into Glacier National Park within hours and to Flathead Lake within days.

Last month, Montana Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester and Gov. Brian Schweitzer held a town-hall meeting to discuss the future of the Canadian headwaters of Flathead River and Flathead Lake. In the past five years, three mountaintop-removal coalmines and two coalbed methane projects have been proposed for the Canadian Flathead.

A packed room of 300 people cheered when Baucus announced that energy giant British Petroleum had abandoned their proposal to develop coalbed methane in the Canadian portion of the Flathead. American democracy and diplomacy was at work. Our elected officials summed up what we all know: Water is Montana’s most precious resource and Glacier’s wildlife, native trout and pristine waters are the fabric of our community, economy and way of life.

Our elected officials – at every level – deserve credit for delivering Montana’s bipartisan voice in the Canadian halls of power and the corporate boardrooms of British Petroleum. Montana concerns are validated as our Canadian neighbors in Fernie, Cranbrook and Elko join with us to protect water quality and wildlife.

While last month’s announcement represents a significant step in our efforts to protect this international treasure – it does not spell victory. Cline Mining Corporation is still promoting a risky and speculative proposal to literally remove a mountain directly above a key North Fork tributary to mine coal for the next 20 years. Another plan is in the works to mine coal under the North Fork riverbed itself.

The acknowledgment of Canadian officials that this area – the heart of the Crown of the Continent – is too special and internationally significant for industrial fossil fuel extraction is a positive development. We all use fossil fuels, but part of responsible energy development is recognizing that some places are just too special to put at risk. The Crown of the Continent is one of those priceless areas.

Now is the time for the provincial and federal governments of Canada to advance a plan for the permanent protection of the Flathead that respects the existing, world-class values of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park and surrounding landscape for current and future generations.

The National Parks Conservation Association will continue to work with local communities, Montana leaders, and our Canadian neighbors to advocate for a long-term solution.

BP still mulling coal-bed extraction

From the Thursday, February 28, 2008 online edition of the Missoulian . . .

Canadian politicians and industry remain keenly interested in coal-bed methane reserves north of Glacier National Park, despite an announcement last week that such plans were off the table.

“We are still very interested in the potential of the Canadian Flathead,” said Jessica Whiteside, spokesperson for BP Canada. Her company already has begun collecting environmental data there, in anticipation of energy development, “and we do plan to continue those environmental studies.”

The reason BP Canada continues investing in the Flathead, even after British Columbia’s government pulled that drainage out of a broader project, is because the company “will ask for coal-bed methane rights in the Flathead” sometime in the future.

Read the entire article . . .